Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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“The Darkest Tapestry”
This doctoral research project is a part of the quest for an inclusive telling of Canada’s national identity and will focus on the creation of a memorialization Keeping Place model to commemorate the Indian Residential School system in Canada. My dissertation is interdisciplinary and contributes to the fields of cultural history, memory and post-colonial studies. In response to the TRC recommendation that calls on all Canadians to “develop and implement a national heritage plan and strategy for commemorating residential school sites, the history and legacy of residential schools, and the contributions of Indigenous peoples to Canada’s history”, this project aims to contribute a unique analysis and discourse to the existing literature as it will focus on developing a process of commemoration of the IRS system by uniting the architectural/geographical location not only as a place/space of colonizing “perpetrator architecture” but also as a Keeping Place and “site of memory/lieu de memoire” or conscience. This project will also engage the concepts of “Indigenous Métissage” and “Cultural Interface” to aid in the creation of an educational commemoration and reconciliation Keeping Place model for all Canadians. Author Keywords: canada, indian residential schools, keeping place , memory, saskatchewan, sites of memory
Witches and Bawds as Elderly Women in England, 1680-1730
Many print sources from 1680 to 1730 depicted bawds and witches as figures of transgressive elderly femininity. They were often described as having roughly the same anti-social behaviour, age, and gender. Both witches and bawds were seen as seducing innocents into a life of sin, associating with the devil, and acting lustful and unmotherly. Furthermore, they were connected with Catholicism and were thought to unite sinners against English Protestant society. The physical descriptions of the witch and procuress also bore significant patterns in presenting deformity, disfigurement, smelliness, rottenness, and death, traits generally connected with elderly women. Though historians have recognized the tendency of the witch or bawd to be characterized as an old woman, none have conducted a systematic comparison of the two stereotypes. Such an analysis can offer insight about the social anxieties around aging femininity in this period. Author Keywords: bawd, cheap print, elderly women, old age, witch, witchcraft
When He Reigns, It Pours
This thesis examines the symbolic meaning and significance that the elite attached to water in ancient Bagan. Through the use of ethnoarchaeological, epigraphic, archaeological, and iconographic data, this study examines the role of water as part of rituals performed by the royal court and the ways in which the royalty of Bagan, in particular King Kyansittha, negotiated, appropriated and disseminated water symbolism to fulfill his interests. Data indicates that the symbolic and religious meaning of water was intricately attached to Buddhist concepts of fertility, wisdom, creativity, and protective powers. Evidence suggests that the royalty employed different techniques to appropriate and disseminate water ritualization, including the performance of water rituals that were closely attached to kingship, power, and ruler legitimacy, the promotion of an alliance with creatures capable of increasing rains and fertility, and the use of analogies that compared the properties of water with the virtues of the king. Author Keywords: Bagan, Bagan Iconography, Jataka Tales, Royal Rituals, Theravada Buddhism, Water Rituals
Underdevelopment in Eastern Bechuanaland
This thesis offers a comprehensive look at the changing roles of a colonial built railway in what is now eastern Botswana. It was built for the extraction of mineral wealth and migration of cheap African labour in Southern Africa but it later assumed a different role of shaping the modern Botswana state. The thesis deals with several other issues related to the railway in Bechuanaland including land alienation, the colonial disregard of the chiefs’ authority, racial discrimination and the economic underdevelopment of Bechuanaland. Since there were no other significant colonial developments at the time of independence, this thesis argues that the railway was the only important feature of the British colonisation of Bechuanaland. From early on, the railway attracted different cultures, identities and religions. It was also instrumental in the introduction of an indigenous capitalist class into Bechuanaland. Author Keywords: Bechuanaland, Botswana, colonisation, migration, railway, underdevelopment
That '70s Strike Support
This thesis examines three Ontario strikes during the 1970s: the Dare Foods, Ltd. strike in Kitchener, Ontario, 1972-1973; the Puretex Knitting Company strike in Toronto, 1978-1979; and the Inco strike in Sudbury, 1978-1979. These strikes highlight gender issues in the Canadian food production, textile, and mining industries in the 1970s, industries that were all markedly different in size and purpose, yet equally oppressive towards working women for different reasons, largely based on the regional character of each city the strikes took place in. In Kitchener, the women’s movement worked closely with the Dare union local and the left to mobilize against the company and grappled with the difficulties of framing women’s inequality within the labour movement. At Puretex, immigrant women workers were subject to electronic surveillance as a form of worker control, and a left-wing nationalist union needed to look outside of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) for allies in strike action. At Inco, an autonomous women’s group formed separate from the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) but struggled to overcome a negative perception of women’s labour activism in Sudbury. Ultimately, these strikes garnered a wide variety of support from working women and feminist groups, who often built or had pre-existing relationships with Canadian and American trade unions as well as the left-wing milieu of the 1970s. This thesis uses these strikes as case studies to argue that despite the complicated and at times uneven relationship between feminism, labour, and the left in the 1970s, feminist and left-wing strike support was crucial in sustaining rank-and-file militancy throughout the decade and stimulating activist careers for women in the feminist movement, in unions, and on the left. Author Keywords: 1970s, feminism, labour, left-wing, militancy, working-class
Technology of Consent
The 1980s in the United States have come into focus as years of extensive ideological and socioeconomic fracture. A conservative movement arose to counter the progressive gains of previous decades, neoliberalism became the nation’s economic mantra, and détente was jettisoned in favour of military build-up. Such developments materialized out of a multitude of conflicts, a cultural crisis of ideas, perspectives, and words competing to maintain or rework the nation’s core structures. In this dissertation I argue that alongside these conflicts, a crisis over technology and its ramifications played a crucial role as well, with the American public grasping for ways to comprehend a nascent technoculture. Borrowing from Andrew Feenberg, I define three broad categories of popular conceptualization used to comprehend a decade of mass technical and social transformations: the instrumental view, construing technology as a range of efficient tools; the substantive view, insisting technology is an environment that determines its subjects; and a critical approach, which recognizes the capacity for technology to shape subjects, but also its potential to aid new social agendas. Using Feenberg’s categories as interpretive lenses, I foreground these epistemologies in three of the decade’s most popular formations of literary science fiction (sf), and describe the broader discourses they participated in: military sf is connected to military strategy and weapons development (instrumental), cyberpunk to postmodernism and posthumanism (substantive), and feminist sf to feminist theory and politics (critical). These were not just discursive trajectories, I claim, but vital contributors to the material construction of what Antonio Gramsci would call hegemonic and counterhegemonic formations. While the instrumental paradigm was part of the decade’s prevailing hegemonic make-up, substantive and critical discourses offered an alternative to the reality of cowboy militarism and unchecked technological expansion. By engaging with the decade’s texts—from There Will Be War to RoboCop to “A Cyborg Manifesto”—I hope to illuminate what I call the technology of consent, the significance of technological worldviews for modern technocultures, where such views are consented to by subaltern groups, and at the same time the existence of consent itself as a kind of complex social technology in the first place. Author Keywords: American History, Discourse, Hegemony, Science Fiction, Technoculture, Technology
Sponsoring Private Schools in an Informal Empire
This thesis analyzes the history of the Inter-American Schools Service (IASS), which ran under the auspices of the American Council on Education beginning in 1943. The program was defined as a private initiative aimed at spreading U.S. democratic values throughout the hemisphere for the mutual benefit of both the United States and Latin America. Yet the program was ultimately one facet of the United States' informal imperialism and a tool for the consolidation of U.S. hegemony, which came at the expense of Latin Americans' pursuit of the very values the IASS was said to facilitate. This theme is explored through a general discussion of cultural policy in the twentieth-century United States as well as the specific history of the IASS program and its relation to U.S. policies of intervention in Guatemala and Bolivia. Author Keywords: American Schools, Cultural Imperialism, Guatemala, Hegemony, Informal Imperialism, Inter-American Schools Service
Reshaping the Terms of Debate
The Reagan era instigated a fundamentally conservative shift in the political, economic and discursive climate of America. As Ronald Reagan is a highly divisive symbolic figure in American politics, much of the historiography of his presidency has been characterized by polarized interpretations. Over the past decade there has been a noticeable shift towards more favourable and triumphal interpretations of the Reagan era. This thesis seeks to analyze the ideological shifts that have characterized the trajectory of historical writings on the Reagan era. Through employing a careful textual analysis of key works by Michael Schaller, Gil Troy and Sean Wilentz, amongst others, this study demonstrates how historiography serves us less as an objective means of understanding the past and more so as an expanding collective historical artifact that illustrates the changing currents of intellectual and political discourse. In doing so, the notion of scholarly objectivity itself is thrown into question. Author Keywords: Cold War, Conservatism, Historiography, Neoliberalism, Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan
Religion, Wilberforce’s Evangelicalism, and the Memoirs of Common British Soldiers, 1811-1863
This thesis examines low-ranking British soldiers’ memoirs in the nineteenth century to determine the extent to which they identified with Christianity and how their expressions of faith differed from each other. Using twelve narratives published between 1811–1863, it finds that all of these soldiers identified themselves with Protestant Christianity and, more importantly, considered irreligion an evil which could not be justified by any decent British citizen. Furthermore, it argues that soldiers’ identity construction was largely determined by the degree of depth of their religious understanding. It uses the work of William Wilberforce to contextualize these soldiers’ expressions of faith and demonstrates how military writing can be more fully understood as representing a spectrum between nominal Christianity and real or true Christianity. This project strives to demonstrate that the religiosity of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain has a significant impact upon our understanding of their time. Author Keywords: Britain, Christianity, memoirs, Military, soldiers, William Wilberforce
Prepared for the Next War? U.S. Attachés Reports, Military Innovation and the Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil War was a theatre of political tension where democracy, communism, and fascism clashed during the interwar period, starting in July 1936 and ending in April 1939. The war defied the traditional concept of a civil war as Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union became involved. All three saw Spain as a testing ground for new military technologies. Meanwhile the United States government stayed steadfast in its isolationist approach to foreign conflict and sent no aid to either side. American military attachés, who are military observers to foreign nations, in Spain witnessed the ongoing conflict, creating detailed reports of their observations before, during, and after the war. This thesis argues that the reports, which contained valuable information regarding military technology and doctrine, had little impact on American military innovation during the interwar period. This was due to both politically dictated neglect and doctrine prejudice regarding European conflicts. Based on the attaché reports, this thesis will explain what Germany, Italy, and the Soviet Union learned about aviation, tanks, and artillery from their participation in Spain. This will be contrasted with the state of the United States’ military at the same time to demonstrate not only the little impact the attaché reports had on the trajectory of the American military, but how the military lagged behind those in Spain upon the beginning of the Second World War. Author Keywords: American military attachés, Germany, Italy, Military Intelligence Division, Soviet Union, Spanish Civil War
Politics of Memory
In dialogue with the critical scholarship on war and remembrance, my research deals with the construction, contestation and negotiation of collective memory in contemporary Vietnam with a focus on commemorations devoted to dead soldiers. Utilizing the methodologies of cultural studies and ethnography, this research seeks to comprehend the politics of memory which characterize collective memory as a social phenomenon whose meanings, interpretations and forms are variedly constructed from a certain social group to the next. Empirically, in this research, constitutive elements of Vietnamese postwar memoryscapes including the hero-centered discourse sanctioned by the Communist Party and the Socialist state, the family remembrance rooted in religious and kinship mandates and the newly emerged online ecology of memory are examined in their own nature as well as in their complicated intertwinements and constant interactions with each other. Case studies and specific methods of individual interview, participant observation and cultural analysis enable the author to approach and identify a wide range of forms and intersections between official and vernacular practices, between oral and living history and institutionalized and cultural presentations of memory. While considering these issues specifically in the Vietnamese context, my dissertation contributes to the increasing theoretical debates in the field of memory studies by exploring the relation of power and the symbolic struggle within and between different social agents involved. As it emphasizes the dynamic and power of memory, this research furthermore situates the phenomenon of collective memory in its dialogues with a broader cultural political environment of postwar society, which is characterized as a hybrid condition embracing processes of nationalism, modernization and post-socialist transformation. Significantly, during these dialogues, as demonstrated in this research, memory works embrace presentism and future-oriented functions which require any social group who is involved to negotiate and renegotiate its position, and to structure and restructure its power. Last but not least it must construct and reconstruct its own versions of the past. Author Keywords: collective memory, Dead soldiers, postwar society, Socialist Vietnam, the politics of memory, war remembrance
Paper Chase
"The Paper Chase: A Survey of Student Newspapers on Ontario Campuses in the 1960s" is a regional study of three University campuses in Ontario — the University of Toronto, Queen's University and Trent University — and examines each of these institutions’ respective student newspapers, The Varsity, The Queen's Journal, and The Arthur as a primary source analysis. In broader terms, this thesis looks to theoretically historicize the themes of "life," "love," and "liberty" on Ontario campuses in the 1960s. Its central question is whether Ontario's youth experienced a cultural revolution like that portrayed in popular memory of the period, which profoundly appears in other sixties cultural interpretations in Canada and the United States. By framing student life through student newspapers' gamut, this thesis calls into question the lionization of some cultural decade elements. It determines students were, in fact, in some ways much more conservative in their outlook than earlier literature or the popular memory of the period suggests. History has much to say about students who rebelled. This thesis focuses on those who did not. Author Keywords: Conservatism, Counterculture, Queen’s University, Sixties, Trent University, University of Toronto

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Format: 2022/09/28